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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Fleet Composition of Rail Tank Cars Carrying Flammable Liquids: 2023 Report

Friday, September 15, 2023

In accordance with the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) released its Fleet Composition of Rail Tank Cars Carrying Class 3 Flammable Liquids: 2023 Report. The report discusses the progress in upgrading the rail tank car fleet to the DOT-117 standard, which meets new safety requirements, and summarizes the types of rail tank cars carrying Class 3 flammable liquids. There is a rolling phase out schedule of tank cars based on both tank car type and flammable liquids carried. All tank cars on the rails are currently in compliance with scheduled deadlines. There were no phase out deadlines in 2022. The next deadline is for all tank cars carrying ethanol to meet the DOT-117 specifications by July 2023. In 2021, 59 percent of all rail tank cars carrying Class 3 flammable liquids were built to the new DOT-117 or DOT-117R specification.

The tank cars carrying Class three flammable liquids which are already meeting the DOT-117 standards as well as phase out dates for other cars.

BTS is also required to provide statistically sound estimates of tank car production in the coming year which meet the DOT-117 specification. A census of rail tank car shops with the ability to produce or retrofit DOT-117 cars was conducted. It is expected that 4,349 new DOT-117 cars will be produced in 2023 and 2,565 existing tank cars will be retrofitted to the DOT-117R specifications, introducing 6,914 new DOT-117 or DOT-117R tank cars in 2023.

A graph showing the numbers of different types of tank cars carrying Class 3 flammable liquids form 2018-2022

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